Second Latino journo group writes to KNBC

Add the National Association of Hispanic Journalists to those concerned about recent job shifts at NBC 4 here in Los Angeles. (Last week it was CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California, apparently triggered by the demotion of Ana Garcia.) Gist of the letter from president Michele Salcedo:

KNBC-TV sits in the largest Latino television market in the country with nearly half the community identifying itself as Hispanic. During prime time, KNBC offers its viewers the voice and experience of no Latino anchors and 30 percent of on-air reporters; behind the camera, Latinos comprise 15 percent of news photographers, 10 percent of producers, 25 percent of midlevel managers and no executives. This is far from reflecting the 48.5 percent of the Los Angeles population that identified as Latinos in the 2010 census. A thin bench also reflects a lack of commitment to the Latino community, because it limits the opportunity to groom Latino talent for future anchor, producer or management openings.

Furthermore, we are alarmed to hear that recent changes involving anchors at KNBC have primarily involved Latinos. It’s our understanding that a number of Latino staffers were removed from their positions and replaced by other ethnicities. We are neither asking for a quota system nor trying to pit Latinos against other journalists of color. But NAHJ strongly believes that on-air talent should reflect the community in which it broadcasts.

The lack of a Latino anchor in KNBC’s prime time newscast is of particular concern to NAHJ. It’s our understanding that within the past year, three Latino anchors have been demoted, including a midday anchor whose show was cancelled. Additionally, a Latino meteorologist was fired. Of a recent dozen job openings, only one Latina was hired.

Also, the group says job openings are not posted as required by law. The letter is addressed to KNBC president Craig Robinson, who has been promoted to chief diversity executive for the NBC network. Full letter after the jump.

August 9, 2011

Mr. Craig Robinson
President and General Manager
NBC4
3000 W. Alameda
Burbank, CA 91523

Via email


Dear Mr. Robinson,

Congratulations on your promotion to executive vice president and chief diversity officer of NBCUniversal. As president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, I stand ready to work with you to ensure Latinos are well represented at all levels of all media platforms throughout NBCUniversal. Please don’t hesitate to call on me or the NAHJ staff if we can assist you in attaining Comcast’s diversity goals.

With that said, however, NAHJ is concerned about recent decisions at KNBC to demote and terminate Latino anchors and the station’s generally poor record of hiring Latinos.

KNBC-TV sits in the largest Latino television market in the country with nearly half the community identifying itself as Hispanic. During prime time, KNBC offers its viewers the voice and experience of no Latino anchors and 30 percent of on-air reporters; behind the camera, Latinos comprise 15 percent of news photographers, 10 percent of producers, 25 percent of midlevel managers and no executives. This is far from reflecting the 48.5 percent of the Los Angeles population that identified as Latinos in the 2010 census. A thin bench also reflects a lack of commitment to the Latino community, because it limits the opportunity to groom Latino talent for future anchor, producer or management openings.

Furthermore, we are alarmed to hear that recent changes involving anchors at KNBC have primarily involved Latinos. It’s our understanding that a number of Latino staffers were removed from their positions and replaced by other ethnicities. We are neither asking for a quota system nor trying to pit Latinos against other journalists of color. But NAHJ strongly believes that on-air talent should reflect the community in which it broadcasts.

The lack of a Latino anchor in KNBC’s prime time newscast is of particular concern to NAHJ. It’s our understanding that within the past year, three Latino anchors have been demoted, including a midday anchor whose show was cancelled. Additionally, a Latino meteorologist was fired. Of a recent dozen job openings, only one Latina was hired.

It is our understanding that that FCC regulations require all open positions to be posted, a practice KNBC does not follow. The station simply doesn't post the openings on the NBC Job Page. We believe this noncompliance is also in direct conflict with "Comcast's Memorandum of Understanding with Hispanics," which states that one of the areas of focus "will recruit and retain more Latinos so that their workforces more accurately reflect the communities they serve."

NAHJ believes you can and are obligated to do a better job of retaining and hiring Latino talent, and we stand ready to assist you in that endeavor. I would like to meet with you at your convenience to discuss why Latinos were apparently targeted in the recent changes at KNBC and what NAHJ can do to help you carry out Comcast’s MOU. This isn’t an issue of being politically correct, it’s a matter of good business.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Sincerely,

Michele Salcedo
President
National Association of Hispanic Journalists


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